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What occurs when your foot falls asleep? – Helen E., age 8, Somerville, Massachusetts
Think about you’ve simply sat down to observe your favourite TV present. You resolve to snuggle in along with your legs crisscrossed since you discover it extra snug that manner.
When the episode ends, you attempt to rise up and out of the blue your proper foot isn’t working. At first you simply can’t transfer it, then it feels prefer it has pins and needles throughout it. For a minute or two it feels uncomfortable and peculiar, however quickly sufficient you’ll be able to rise up and stroll round usually.
What simply occurred?
I’m an train physiologist – a scientist who research what occurs to our our bodies after we transfer and train. The objective of a lot of my analysis has been to know how the mind talks to and controls the completely different elements of our our bodies. When your foot falls asleep, there’s something fallacious with the communication between your mind and the muscle tissue in that space.
Each time you resolve to maneuver your physique, whether or not it’s standing up, strolling round or enjoying sports activities, your mind sends indicators to your muscle tissue to verify they transfer accurately. When the mind is unable to speak with a muscle or teams of muscle tissue, some bizarre issues can occur – together with that a part of your physique getting that bizarre falling-asleep sensation.
It normally begins with a way of numbness or tingling in that space. This sensation, which individuals usually additionally name “pins and needles,” is technically often known as paresthesia.
Some folks mistakenly assume an absence of blood move causes this sense. They think about the “asleep” feeling occurs when your blood, which carries vitamins throughout your physique, is unable to get to your foot. However that’s not proper.
When your foot falls asleep, it’s often because the nerves that join the mind to the foot are getting squished because of the place you’re sitting in. Keep in mind, it’s these nerves that carry messages forwards and backwards to let your mind and your foot talk with one another. If the nerves have been compressed for a short while, you gained’t have a lot feeling in your foot as a result of it could possibly’t get its regular messages via to your mind about the way it feels or if it’s shifting.
When you begin to transfer round once more, the strain on the nerves is launched. They “get up” and also you’ll begin to discover a “pins and needles” feeling. Don’t fear, that feeling will solely final for a couple of minutes after which every thing will really feel regular once more.
Now comes the vital query: Is that this harmful? More often than not, when your foot, or some other physique half, falls asleep, it’s momentary and nothing to fret about. In actual fact, because it lasts for under a minute or two, you might not even bear in mind it occurred by the tip of the day.
Though it’s not inflicting any everlasting injury, you would possibly nonetheless need to keep away from the uncomfortable feeling that comes when your foot falls asleep. Listed here are a few suggestions that will assist:
Swap your place usually.
Don’t cross your legs for very lengthy.
If you end up sitting for a very long time, attempt standing up once in a while.
You in all probability can’t 100% stop your foot from ever falling asleep. So don’t fear when it occurs each infrequently. It’ll go away fairly rapidly – and possibly it could possibly remind you of all of the vital mind messages your nerves are normally transmitting with out your even noticing.
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